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Building the Backyard

The tall, smooth walls are blue like the sky as the rooms of the "Backyard" buzz with activity.

Construction workers at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center are busy with the inside of the facility's new $2 million Backyard addition.

"They're painting and getting ready to get all the mechanicals in, and then the windows should arrive the end of May," said Community Center CEO Stewart Omberg.

Construction on the 6,000-square-foot addition began last fall, trudged through the icy winter, and is now starting to blossom.

The facility will include a large playland with a "parent's nook" that will provide Wi-Fi and tables to sit and watch the children play.

The youth gymnasium, which will be for kids approximately 12 and under, is now just waiting for its paint job and flooring.

"We're going to have a baseball diamond inlay into the flooring, and then there will be pads on all the walls so they can play wiffle ball and dodge ball, and there will be basketball hoops in here as well," Omberg said.

Inside construction is also full-steam ahead on the teen room, which will house interactive fitness equipment such as "dance revolution," wii, light boards, and interactive cycles.

In that same area is a new kids' zone (daycare for members), and new free weight and cardio rooms upstairs.

Omberg says although construction is behind by a couple of weeks, they should still be ready to hand over the area to the playland company the first week of June.

From there, the company needs about a month to set up the massive structure.

"People will be able to see that going up, but we're really trying to keep the whole section under wraps so that people don't see it until we unveil it," said Omberg.

Right now, windows and doors to the new addition are blocked to avoid sneak peeks.

The whole "Backyard" is scheduled to be finished by early July, with a grand opening already in the works.

That's a big secret," smiles Omberg, "We're planning that right now ... probably for the second week of July."

Omberg says the project is right on budget, with the $2 million raised through a total of 350 donors, including local, regional, and foundations.

"People really were generous ... from families, individuals, and businesses," said Omberg, "and now, we're just about there."